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Brilliant Balconies: Design Ideas for Small Homes

If we had to wager a guess, we’d say that most people would count a balcony as a welcome addition to their home. Whether small or spacious, a balcony can offer easy access to the outdoors and can provide an invaluable extension to living spaces — especially during the warm summer months. Small footprint apartments in particular can benefit from this extra square footage, which can serve as an outdoor lounge, a dining area, or even a makeshift office. 

This list of some of our favourite balcony ideas from across Never Too Small episodes shows off the endless and untapped potential of this “bonus” space.

Bringing the Outdoors In

This triangular Buenos Aires apartment had quite a large balcony to begin with, but due to its shape and relationship to the interior, it wasn’t all that easy to use. Enrico Cavaglià of iR architecture decided to change that. By completely demolishing the interior-exterior wall and replacing it with folding glass doors, Cavaglià expanded the living space into the balcony and altered the feel and flow of the space completely. A white perforated metal screen was added to provide privacy from the street front without limiting the amount of natural light. As an added perk, this apartment also has a rooftop terrace, accessible via a ladder in the bathroom.

Sun-soaked Sunroom

One thing is for sure, balconies are well-loved in this sun-soaked Barcelona apartment. In addition to the two small balconies off the sleeping and study rooms, the home features a sunroom off the kitchen that can be converted into open-air space. During the renovation, owners Carlota Siverio, an architect, and her wife opted to replace the existing windows in the sunroom with ones that open to the exterior – returning it to how it was at the time of the building’s construction.

Rethinking the Outdoor Space

This low-footprint and sustainable small apartment building designed by Breathe Architecture is a wonderful example of how our thinking on outdoor space in high-rise living can be expanded. In addition to the incredible communal outdoor areas in this building – including the rooftop terrace, which has amenities like a communal veggie patch, a place for dogs to play, and shared laundry – the apartments also have their own private balconies. The enclosed, glazed balcony offers a perfect extension of the living area regardless of the season.

Balcony Turned Spa

The terrace on this vibrant Madrid home is a study in cosiness and relaxation. Gonzalo Pardo and the team at gon architects created a versatile outdoor space that doubles as an at-home spa. The large, wide tiles create a feeling of continuity between the interior and exterior spaces of this home and usher the homeowners out to their comfortable, enclosed terrace with an outdoor shower and tub.

Some Honourable Mentions

This Paris apartment converted one of its two large terraces into a bedroom and kept the other as a lush oasis.

The enclosed terrace affixed to this São Paulo home is large enough to house the laundry, additional prep space for the kitchen, and a table for your morning coffee or breakfast.  

Living alone has many perks, and in this Barcelona apartment, one of them is the open shower with a view directly out to the balcony and beyond.

We love the stylish dining area of this luxe Parisian small-footprint apartment.

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